Move D on the Digital Music Era: "Ideally, Music Should Be For Free"
If electronic music can be called music's final frontier -- the veritable cutting edge of sonic innovation -- then it's artists like Move D (AKA David Moufang) who are its true trailblazers. If the German production veteran is still relatively obscure (as far as mainstream EDM hype goes), it's only because he's been too busy pushing the possibilities of sound and genre in the studio for the past two decades to worry about trends.
Introduced to techno in 1989, Moufang would help pioneer the ambient genre along with Jonas Grossman as Deep Space Network. But he's also amassed a prolifically eclectic body of work over the years, exploring the uncharted territories between ambient and avant-garde, disco, dub, house and techno, under a number of different monikers and collaborative side projects, including Reagenz, Magic Mountain High, Earth to Infinity, and, of course, Move D.
Thanks in part to the wonders of the internet and social media -- which the always forward-thinking Moufang has wholeheartedly embraced -- a new generation of electronic dance music heads is bestowing the attention this brilliant artist merits. Of course, it helps that in addition to his studio production credits, Moufang is also one hell of a seasoned club DJ with a knack for mixing his headier techno fare with feel-good disco, funk, and house classics.
Ahead of his highly anticipated performance for Aquabooty Miami's 14th-anniversary celebration at the Electric Pickle on Friday, Crossfade caught up with Move D to chat about his two decades in the game, why music should be free, and his new album.
Crossfade: Tell us about your musical upbringing. Which were some of the artists and records that most resonated with you while you were growing up?
David Moufang: I was born in a very musical family. My grandmother was a concert pianist and my dad a jazz trumpeter. At the age of 4, I found out that music fascinates me more than anything. My stepdad had an amazing record collection and a high-end stereo which he brought back to Germany after finishing university in the States. I was very lucky he had enough faith to let me operate his stereo and play his records at this very young age.
Among the first artists that I remember from the early childhood days were, of course, the Beatles but also the Doors, Rare Bird, as well as Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, and other forms of music: Western classical, jazz, world music -- Jobim, Gilberto, Getz.
I remember that in the early days, before I could understand lyrics in English, the album artwork was always very important in order to draw my attention to a record, and obviously I liked more narrative and radio-play-inspired records a lot -- Disc 2 of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma, "Yellow Submarine," Kraftwerk's Autobahn, etc.
You started out playing in live bands. How did you transition into electronic music production?
When playing in bands, you're always searching for spaces to rehearse in. One day, a friendly man offered his basement for free. Later, it turned out he was running a company doing advertisement movies for big German corporations, such as Lufthansa, Heidelberg printing machines, etc. Cable TV was piloting in those days -- early '80s -- and after a while, the friendly film studio and production biz owner asked me if I was interested in doing some music for his commercials and some cable TV jingles. This was the start of my home studio, one-man show, and career and subsequently moving away from the band and rehearsal room scene.
Although I already knew electronic solo artists like Jean Michel Jarre, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Thomas Dolby since the '80s, it wasn't until the early '90s and my first encounter with techno and raves that I actually became friendly with the idea of becoming a "solo" electronic artist. My main instrument, for instance, is still the guitar.
How do you typically approach a new production project in the studio? Do you have a mental sketch or concept of what you want to work on, or does it arise from improvisation and playing with your gear in the studio?
Ideally, I just start something for fun, which typically happens when I'm either being inspired by a sound or a piece of hardware or, most typically, something that I come across on a guitar or a piano which captivates me enough to make me materialize it with the help of machines. So, often the basic idea and composition is happening on an acoustic instrument; then I take it to the studio and synths world.